User Generated Content that just keeps getting better

Do you remember that Coca-Cola/Mentos video that was such a hit on YouTube several years ago? A couple of nutty performance artists captured themselves making dozens of geysers by plunging Mentos into big bottles of Diet Coke. Something a friend said to me the other night made me remember it. ‘Advertising is a kind of failure,’ he burbled over (maybe?) his sixth pint. Admittedly, he was being argumentative, but it got me thinking. The old idea that you don’t need to advertise if you’ve got an awesome product, or service, therefore leaving it all to your customers, gets a different slant in today’s world where User Generated Content and Social Networks are revolutionising the media ecosystem.
Now, it seems, your customers can make pretty influential decisions about how they choose to shout about your product. In the early days, it was pretty much just review sites, but now that blogs have made publishers of us all, and YouTube has given every artist the chance to perform to the world, consumers can manipulate the way we perceive brands all by themselves, like those inventive performance artists did. At the outset, Coca-Cola were antsy. They felt the video wasn’t in line with their brand personality. Eventually, when they realised how many sales the whole thing was generating, (probably by kids who wanted to pop their own mentos down a bottle and see the spray go) they got behind it.
I’ve come across an interesting site:(http://www.udemy.com/). It sounds like something you might find in a Japanese restaurant, but it’s actually a pretty cool platform, which has expanded the world of education by enabling anyone to teach and learn online. It used to be that if you wanted to learn about something from someone with a serious qualification you needed to pull out some decent A Level results to get you anywhere. Udemy has taken professors out of their institutions, giving anyone access to them and…get this…for free.
My opinion? Well, anyone can write a blog or make a movie and share it with an online community. Sometimes, like those geyser guys, they might find themselves communicating their work with a far bigger audience. But now people can share their knowhow. This is beyond wacky consumer advertising or the whole, ‘Look at me! Look at me!’ parades we get continually on the web. This is about proper knowledge. Whether there are professors out there – or simply people with wisdom they want to pass on – they can set up their own online course so that anyone who wants to can learn. It’s a great form of democratisation. This is user generated content at its finest.

Prizes.org – Please stop Spamming me.

It’s a common senario to signup to a website and then unsubscribe after your purchase or when you don’t require the service any longer…What’s less common is when companies completely ignore unsubscribe requests. Especially large ones like Prizes.org which belongs to Google inc.

In a nutshell — I signed up to prizes, paid $200 and played around with a contest. I subsequently received  several emails from prizes.org and unsubscribed each time I received one. However, it’s not stopped them from sending me more emails and then more and more and more and more.

One starts to question their own sanity and so I took a screenshot to verify that I wasn’t losing my marbles:

Prizes.org unsubscribe screenshot


And I’ve received several more of these after that particular unsubscribe request above – even though I’ve unsubscribed to every email since.

prizes.org spam email

Please sort your shit out Prizes.org or Google or whoever runs the email marketing and stop spamming me – thanks.

Boycott GoDaddy | GoDaddy.com

GoDaddy “supported” SOPA until they started to lose customers; It will come as no surprise that GoDaddy.com have stopped supporting the bill in order to stem the hemorrhage of  domain transfers to other registrars.

What makes GoDaddy look even worse is how they have turned on a dime in terms of what they were standing for. While one may not like the enemy, one respect them for the principals they are willing to go to war over. However, nobody likes a spineless bully that changes their tune when a fight comes their way.

Boycott GoDaddy to demonstrate to other corporations that they will lose customers if they support a bill of censorship and oppression.

Losing a deluge of customers seems like fair justice to the arrogant butt kissing executives at GoDaddy.com that have a reputation of doing and saying as they please. They can’t.

Now all repeat in unison:

Boycott GoDaddy
Boycott GoDaddy
Boycott GoDaddy

Bernie Ecclestone – in Translation

Recently and with Honda like reliability, every time I open a should-have-been-dead-a-long-time-ago-newspaper there happens to be a business interview with some nobody ambiguous business-man. These interviews seem to follow the same old repertoire of banal questions and answers. Modern newspaper journalists can’t seem to get enough of interviewing small-time businessmen that haven’t quite ‘made it’ so to speak, these ill trained ‘journalists’ then proceed to subject their readers to the same questions every journalist in the world has used for every single business interview. Ever.

Evidence would suggest that when journalism students were given their “how to interview” text-books at university, they were in fact, just a single small piece of paper with just one question on it, this question read: “Who is your business hero”?

When I read these ‘interviews’ in national broadsheet newspapers, I am, with Metronome regularity, subjected to the very same answers that I’ve happened to read nine thousand times before. The answers are so generic that one could transpose them with biblical cliches and the Proverbs would still not appear out of place. Virtually every interviewee retorts with “Richard Branson”. Eugh.

While I like Richard Branson, he’s a little dull when compared to the Fox-esk business dexterity of the machiavellian Bernie Ecclestone. I don’t have a ‘business hero’, but I have incredible respect for Ecclestone. His genius is stunning.

One of his triumphs was the selling of Formula One several times over without relinquishing ownership.

However, as much as I look upon Ecclestone with adoration, I’ve not ever believed a bloody word of what he says to the press; Ecclestone likes to ‘play’ with the journalists, and almost always for his own gain and amusement. While I find these interviews entertaining, I highly doubt there is a shed of reality in what he says…He’s brilliant. He’s top of my list of people I’d like to meet.

As such, I’ve pulled some of his quotes from a recent interview that was primarily about his daughters. The interview from which these quotes are pulled appeared in the Guardian.

I’ve translated some of Bernie’s answers as he can be ambiguous at times and I’m sure you’d like to know what he really means;)

Interview answers with translations

Bernie – On his daughters million dollar Crystal bath:

First, it wasn’t like that. It wasn’t a crystal bath for a million quid. It’s the hype again. Makes me bloody mad. It cost nothing like that. Not true. Not at all.”

Translation: 

“It was way more, I’m sorry to say. While she won’t get to the bottom of her trust fund any time soon, it’s a bit O.T.T for a bath.

Bernie: When asked about his daughters image in the media:

I spent the weekend with both of them at Petra’s wedding,” Ecclestone says, “and Tamara was an angel. Nothing like that show in any shape or form. She was Tamara.”

Translation:

“I think that show hit the nail on the head when it comes to describing what my daughters really like”.

Bernie – When asked about why he paid a bribe to an official in Brussels:  

I asked the trust: ‘What’s going to happen if this guy tells the revenue that I’m managing the trust, which is what he was inferring?’ They said: ‘If he does, the revenue will want to come and check and they’ll assess you and you’ll be in court for three years proving all the things that are wrong, and it’ll cost you a fortune, and the trust as well. You’d be assessed at 40% tax on about £3bn. I said: ‘I can’t afford it. What shall I do?‘”

(I can't imagine Bernie ever asking someone "what to do" when it comes to making a deal - of any sort). 

Translation:

“The bribe went bad when he tried to double cross me. Now I’m going to punish him by stating that I was forced to because of his blackmail skulduggery. If this was 1970, I’d have sent him on an all expenses permanent holiday down the Thames in a concrete Canoe. Alas, street justice has fallen out of fashion with the authorities in recent years.
I said to the trust, ‘I have a Boeing sized deal going down but there is this Eurocrat sleaze-ball that wants nearly 30 million Euros to make the deal happen. What shall I do, what do you think the trust said? Of course they said I should pay the bribe to make us even richer. Doh.”

Bernie: On why he paid the Euro-Schmuck £27,500,000 

What he did, as he told the court, was to pay him £27.5m to keep schtum: “I thought it might keep him quiet and peaceful and friendly and stop him doing silly things.”

Translation:

“I paid him that money and still got fucked, go figure”

Bernie – On his opinion of his biography. Which he hasn’t read:

“I don’t read books. But most people who read it thought it was a good book. Did you read it?”

Translation:

“Of course my book is good, everyone in the world knows it, even illiterate children in Africa are raving about it”.

Bernie: On the author of his biography and why they failed to uncover much ‘dirt’:

“That’s what the problem was. I used to say to Tom – because we’ve become quite good friends – ‘What can I do that’s evil for you?’ He was upfront with me and I gave him complete co-operation. Anyone he wanted to speak to, I called and said: ‘Talk to this guy – tell him the truth.’ Because he had a reputation coming in. Somebody called me and said: ‘There’s a guy doing a book on you, but he’s not a normal guy for doing books, he’s destroyed a few people.’ I said it wouldn’t be a bad idea if he came and had a chat before he started destroying me, because maybe he could find even more to destroy. So Tom arrived and we had lunch and that’s how the name of the book came about. I said: ‘You write what you like, provided it’s more or less the truth, because I’m no angel.’ And when we’d finished the book, he said: ‘Would you mind if I called the book No Angel?’ I said: ‘Bloody good name.'”

Translation:

“Nobody would dare utter a bad word about me, if they want to live.”

Bernie – On the Bahrain protests:

“The people I’ve met there are lovely people,” Ecclestone says, prompting the response that jailing doctors for treating demonstrators doesn’t seem very lovely.

Translation:

“Too right they should lock people up for contributing to the cancellation of the Bahrain Grand Prix this year, including the meddling Doctors”.

Bernie – On putting on an F1 Grand Prix in countries with questionable human rights policies:

“We pulled out of South Africa years ago (in 1985) because of apartheid. I witnessed things that had happened there which upset me. I thought: ‘That ain’t the way to go on.’ I hope we go to Bahrain and there’s no trouble – the race goes on, the public are happy and there are no dramas. That’s what I hope.”

Translation:

“Apartheid-Shmartheid – If they had paid the money, we’d never have left South Africa and if Bahrain continues to pay enough we’ll stay there too, regardless as to how many civilians are slaughtered. God, I love fooling people with this BS political correctness.”

BernieOn his morals about running in countries with a dangerous and volatile political system:

“We’d have to give it some serious thought then. But we’ve been to Argentina when there’s been big dramas. There’s been dramas in Brazil. Bad things happen there. I think you can look anywhere now and it’s not all good. You can’t really hold England up as being all good, can you? There have been some terrible atrocities that we committed.”

Translation:

“Where there is money, I’ll follow. If they want to stage a ‘Middle-Eastern version of Monaco’ around the streets of Islamabad I’d agree. As long as they paid my extortionate fees – obviously.”

All just for fun of course – not a word of the above is true ;)

Thought Provoking Article on Google by Aaron Wall

I read a powerful article on Aaron Wall’s blog today, definitely worth a read, especially if you work in marketing.

The article : http://www.seobook.com/forget-seo

www.canyoucrackit.co.uk – Can You Crack It? Um Yes.

Silly little quiz put out by MI5 – I wouldn’t bother wasting 30 mins solving the puzzle, the results are disappointing as it simply links you through to another page where you can apply for a job that’s in the public domain anyway.

Here is answer:

Pr0t3ct!on#cyber_security@12*12.2011+

http://www.canyoucrackit.co.uk/ <—- Quiz Link

Death of the Keyboard, Mouse, Monitor, Laptop et al.

Image representing Siri as depicted in CrunchBase

Image via CrunchBase

With the advent of Siri and sofware packages like Dragon Speak and Nuance for Mac’s, one cannot help noticing how antiquated the keyboard is. It’s almost completely redundant currently and it’s usefulness will only decline in the next couple of years.

I imagine the future computers will be a pair of glasses that had wrap around lenses with augmented reality as a standard. Instead of typing  or speaking, we’ll use brain waves to control our day to day activities. Life will be will be serendipitous and day to day activities like shopping and cleaning will become redundant as shops will automatically know when you’re low on food and one will have low cost robots cleaning the house.

It’s not that far off – interesting times ahead.

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Google Analytics Premium: Thank You Google

From destroying the market five years ago and basically putting everyone else out of business, Google has now put a value on premium web-analytics programmes.

I see this as a great opportunity for some new Web Analytics start-ups to form and challenge Google, there are too many privacy issues with Google for them to own the whole market.
Thank you Google for creating a new market, I’m sure in doing this, it will spin off a few more entrepreneurs that will go from rags to riches within a couple of years.

 

Hidden Email Addresses & Spam Traps

Once upon a time there was an example of a hidden email address to teach researchers that taking hidden email addresses is probably a bad idea. Mostly because they are spam traps.

Here is an example of a hidden email address:

spam@hidden.com (Can you see it with your own eyes?)

The End.

Dear BT Broadband – Please Can you Fix my Internet – It’s only been 3 Months


26 October – 1:30pm  – FINAL UPDATE

The 7th BT engineer came over this morning, a decent chap indeed. He managed to trace the fault to the building lift – every-time it’s activated, the line drops.  Everyone that called out a REIN issue was right – congratulations to all of you that can diagnose a problem without visiting the site.

I’d like to thank everyone that’s helped me reach a point where we can move forward – the attitude of the staff at BT is tremendous (bar Wholesale that were never interested) but every single engineer  that I’ve met has been lovely and tried their best to help.

I look fondly upon everyone at BT – you all care deeply and it shows.

I’m sorry I had to take such extreme action to get someones attention but it reached a point where I was just being ignored which was pretty dreadful. After hundreds of telephone calls, emails and a few Tweets without any prospect of a resolution; I eventually “lost it” and did what I needed to do in order to get some attention.

The advertising costs have run into the thousands for this alone, but I’m not complaining – I guess it would’ve been cheaper to just pay out my contract, however, I wanted to resolve the issue and not run away from it.

Thank You again to everyone that’s commented on this blog and and helped out, you’re all stars.

==========

Dear BT Broadband – Please Can you Fix my Internet – It’s only been 3 Months

My BT Broadband is terribly unreliable, it drops the connection all too frequently, sometimes up to twenty times a day. It’s the most infuriating problem as BT cannot seem to resolve the issue. Thus far I’ve had:

5 x Engineering Home Visits (Work time lost waiting for the engineers on every occasion.)

150 odd emails back and forth

100+ Telephone calls.

They have changed my whole network from the router to the cabinet and then the wiring to the exchange. They have also done a “lift and shift”, and a “port reset”. There is nothing left to do, on my side of the exchange.

BT WHOLESALE WAKE UP – THIS ISN’T AN OPEN REACH PROBLEM.

I know you see yourself as two different companies and don’t like helping Open-Reach but there is nothing more they can do.

Please help – this is outrageous – not only have I had unreliable Broadband for several months, I’ve lost £20,000 of work as a direct result of having a line that seems to know exactly when to drop so I lose the most amount of money when I’m trading online.In addition, I’ve looked like a Muppet to my customers abroad who can’t seem to understand why I don’t have a decent internet line in a first world country.

HELP ME BT BROADBAND WHOLESALE. PLEASE! (DON’T KNOCK IT BACK TO OPENREACH AGAIN – SO I GET CALLS FROM INDIA ASKING WHAT THE PROBLEM IS)

BT won’t even let me cancel my contract without paying the full contract out in full.

My phone number is 01865 556 408 – please look at the notes on the system. Extensive notes – I just get ignored now.  The BT openReach guys are a bloody good bunch that have done their utmost to help – but Wholesale – someone needs to kick their arses. It’s a joke.

Thanks for all the comments and ideas so far, I do appreciate that most of you guys and girls are going out of your way to help a customer. It’s really appreciated.

Update:

10/11/2011 – Facebook Campaign is started out of sheer desperation for a decent internet connection

11/10/2011 – I had a few calls from the team in Northern Ireland and the Newcastle team (3 or 4 in total)  promising some action. Line is still dropping – what felt like the worst day ever.

12/10/2011 – An “update” call from the Newcastle team saying they are waiting for a “Frame Relay Engineer” to call back so to book an appointment with me.  Line is still dropping badly.

13/10/2011 – 11:00am –  The NewCastle Team called this morning saying they have  “upped the Hertz from 6 – 12”.

13/10/2011 –  1:16pm – BroadBand Line Dropped for 5 minutes

13/10/2011 – 1:30pm –
Call from Gavin at the executive level complaints department saying they had taken over and are investigating.

14/10/2011 – 3:37pm – Broadband still dropping. I have a 6th engineering visit booked for Tuesday – 18/10/2011

17/10/2011 – 1:35pm –  Broadband still dropping and did so throughout the weekend. I noticed that at one point when the Broadband went down it said “check phone line” on my cordless phone. 6th engineering visit tomorrow; here’s hoping.

18 – 20 October 2011 – 1:38   – Broadband still dropping; BT is aware. Steps to resolving a Rein issue have been implemented they have re-installed a big ass faceplate to isolate the house bar the main point. Also, installed a Rein filter. However, as mentioned the broadband is still dropping – an engineering follow-up is scheduled for the 21st of October.

 20 – 24 October – 1:30pm – Broadband Still dropping! 7th Engineer scheduled to visit on Wednesday the 26th, this is to resolve a Rein issue or see if it uncovers any other issues that maybe causing the problem.  It’s been two weeks since BT has really jumped into action and I’m not really any closer to having reliable broadband.